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cooltom 04-15-2010 03:58 PM

Stronger. And More Powerful.
I've been using Jim Wendler's 531 template since last August/September, with good results. However, I am going to make some changes to my training, basically going heavier than the program recommends. I am doing this in preparation for a PL meet on June 27. It will be my first.

I have been lifting seriously, pushing myself, for about a year. Before that, I lifted weights, played lots of basketball, ran, rode my bike, but it was, more or less, simply to keep my weight down. It was when I noticed that I was struggling to stay lean that I started pushing myself in the weight room, and soon became interested in powerlifting.

This is not the first time I've followed powerlifting. At 19 (currently 33), I was doing a PL program and had the intention to compete, but hitched a big deadlift, wrecked my back, and soon stopped training.

Yesterday, April 14, was the beginning of a deload for me. However, this Saturday, at my gym, there is a bench press competition that I plan on participating in. That will make the deload tolerable. My attempts will go like this:

My best gym lift was 325x1, so I thought I would set myself up with 315 to hit the 5lb PR.

cooltom 04-15-2010 04:03 PM

April 14-15 2010: Deload and Recovery
April 14

Walked from 60th St. to 12th. It took me about 40 minutes.

April 15

Upper Recovery

1) Face Pulls 3x10
2) Rear Delt on Pec Deck Machine 3x10
3) Dips 3x10
4) Chins 3x10
5) 1-Arm DB Skullcrushers 3x10
6) Treadmill=40 minutes (4mph at grade of 6-8)

glwanabe 04-15-2010 04:03 PM

I read the thread title, and had something else come to mind. Kick butt on the Bench challenge.

cooltom 04-15-2010 04:06 PM

LOL. I might be able to be better and stronger. But, faster? No way.

And, I spent the last three days trying to think of a straightforward title that nobody could make fun of me for. LOL.

Thanks, for the encouragement. I need it.

glwanabe 04-15-2010 04:17 PM


Originally Posted by cooltom (Post 48340)
LOL. I might be able to be better and stronger. But, faster? No way.

And, I spent the last three days trying to think of a straightforward title that nobody could make fun of me for. LOL.

Thanks, for the encouragement. I need it.

I can usually twist almost everything around. It's a gift.

BendtheBar 04-15-2010 04:54 PM

Hit it hard CT. Looking forward to seeing some serious progress.

kman025 04-15-2010 05:00 PM

in for this, good luck with the meet and bench comp.

strong bench, where are your other lifts at?

CoopDawg 04-15-2010 05:10 PM

keep it up tom.

cooltom 04-16-2010 09:48 PM

Friday, April 15 2010
Thanks for the support everyone! I want a PR tomorrow so badly.

As for BW, I was originally thinking of cutting some weight to get into the 179pound class, but I'm opting to go the other way after weighing in consistently between 186-190 for the past few weeks. I've been eating like a pig today. :chow: :eatdude:

My workout went like this:

April 16, 2010: Deadlift Deload

I really hate deloads, especially when I'm not feeling well. I had to work very late the night before and just felt lethargic, unmotivated, and depressed all day. School pressure is mounting each second too.

1) Sumo Deadlift

Worked up to 325x3x1

I deadlift conventional, but switch to sumo for my deloads. It keeps things a bit interesting for me since I suck at sumos...terribly.

I finished my last wave, pulling conventional, at 425x4. I aim to hit 500 at my meet in June.

2) Pause Squat

225x5, 245x2x5, 250x2x5

I have been doing these "Pause Squats" since reading about them in an Ed Coan routine. I was thinking about adding box squats until I stumbled upon these. I've been doing them for roughly 5 weeks and I think they've helped my squat strength and form tremendously.

With my heavy squats, I worked up to 385x2x1 on my last wave. I was having a lot of formal issues that I've been working hard to correct over the last couple of months, but I was really pleased with that last squat workout. Form was good. Depth was good. I think I could get 400 now, so my goal for the meet is 425.

3) Good Mornings


Just a little GM work. I stopped after a set because I don't want a sore back tomorrow.

4) Toe Presses

5) Treadmill =15 minutes

cooltom 04-17-2010 08:43 PM

Saturday, April 17 2010
Well, today was the bench press competition at my gym and it did not go well for yours truly.

I had my attempts planned at 300, 315, and 330. I did not train the bench press with a pause, but I'm always very deliberate in training and so did not foresee any problems. I thought I would have at least gotten the 315. I worked up to 325 about fifteen days out, and deloaded this week.

I do not know if I push myself too hard in training, but I swear I do not come out of deloads stronger. If anyone has advice about this, please let me know.

Anyways I weighed in this morning at 11am. There was a big group of guys there, pretty much all the gym regulars. I didn't care about falling in a certain weight class, and I had my weight down to about 185 at the start of the week, and held it until Friday. I then ate like a pig for the last two days and ended up weighing in at 188 wearing sweatpants:).

They announced they would begin at noon so I walked on the treadmill for a bit, foam rolled my back, warmed up my joints and tried to get some work in on the bench press as the time approached. It went like this:


295 felt really good and I was feeling confident at that point. I decided, based on that warmup, that I would just start off with 305 instead of 300.

The meet began and the place was a ****ing zoo. It was the kind of atmosphere you might expect at a dogfight or cockfight, because everyone was crowded around the bench yelling. A lifter would come up to the bench, and they were forced to take all three attempts consecutively! Seriously, some guys probably had about one minute in between attempts. Nobody could hear anything and the bar was misloaded a few times. A few little guys almost got seriously hurt. On the other end of the spectrum, I even saw a couple guys take about four or five lifts. I didn't really understand why.

About an hour after my last warmup attempt, it was finally my turn. I was nervous as hell. I chalked my hands and squeezed them together, and already the sweat had smeared much of it off. I sat down on the bench press and tried to collect my thoughts, tried to ignore the noise. I turned off my ipod so I could communicate with the judges.

When I bench press, I arch my back, pinch my traps together, get my feet set, etc etc. I leaned back with the bar loaded at 305 and my right leg started shaking so badly that I couldn't settle it down. Then, my back started to cramp up as I resisted the jitters. One judge (the guy who works the front counter) told me there was no lift off. This ****ed my game up too. I usually get a lift off so I can stay tight. I've had some shoulder problems in the past and staying tight is the only way to not aggravate it. I took it off, didn't keep tight enough, and missed it.

I then said, "What the ****? Why no lift off?" The other judges said it was ok, it was just that other guys didn't want it, so some competitors didn't think it was fair." I said, "Well, **** them if they don't want it. If it's our choice, then I choose to have one." They said, "Fine, now lift." That took about a minute and I rushed the next lift, and missed it again. I noticed then that my elbows were flaring out as I lowered the weight. I'm usually careful to tuck them in.

My buddy was standing there and said, "What is your problem? You can handle this weight no problem. I've seen you." I was already disappointed and mad, and then I knew that I had to get this one. I took my lift off, lowered it, paused it and drove it back up. 305, what a day.

I expected this competition to be chaotic. I also knew that I would have really bad nerves, and that was one reason why I entered: I needed to alleviate them somewhat prior to the real meet in June. I also am not sure if I should pause all my bench press training from here on out. That, or I could work up to my max lifts on a given day, then take an attempt with the same weight for a pause. I think the pause makes it a little harder, but I basically totally choked today.

What's good, however, is that I now have a little more of a purpose for my meet in June. I want to redeem myself of today's performance and will use this failure as motivation to reach my goals in a couple months.

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